January 6, 2016

I'm trying to understand what Bill Clinton meant when he said — on Monday in Nashua — that immigration is our "meal ticket."

Yesterday, I was puzzling over the low press coverage of Bill Clinton's speech in Nashua. I couldn't find a transcript or even any very substantial quotes. I was reading the NYT piece about it, and I found a stray 2-word quote:
Describing the ideas and work ethic of immigrants as potential “meal tickets” for the American economy, Mr. Clinton told some wandering anecdotes about Muslims and others who had stood up for Christians and defended their families....
I said:
"Meal tickets"?  Wouldn't that mean immigrants should work so we natives can get free food? I want to see the text.  
Apparently the only way to get the text is to transcribe it myself from the video. This is about 4 minutes in:
The third thing the election's about is how are we going to keep America safe and still keep it American, preserve our individual liberties and our reputation for being an open country, our belief in diversity, and our understanding that one of our great meal tickets in the next 20 years is going to be there's somebody here from everywhere else.
Clinton goes on to tell an anecdote about a Muslim foiling a robbery, so there's no explanation of that "meal ticket" concept. The original meaning of "meal ticket" is, according to the OED, quite literal: a ticket that entitles you to a meal. The figurative use is: "a source of subsistence, livelihood, or income; something which ensures prosperity, financial security, etc. Often implying some form of cynical exploitation, etc., as in a relationship in which one partner lives off the earnings of the other."

Did Bill Clinton simply misuse the term? Before I found the whole quote, when I was reading the NYT, I had the theory that perhaps Bill Clinton had let slip the real reason why the elite class in this country favors ample immigration: They want to take advantage of the willingness of newcomers from dismal places to work hard for low wages. We can actually live off their hard work. The plan is cynical exploitation.

But my transcription blows up that theory. It wasn't about hard work and immigration, but the value of diversity. It's just wonderful that we are "an open country" and there will be people here from everywhere. It's a rather mushy celebration of diversity, and, in that context, I think he used "meal tickets" to mean "benefits" — just something great that we have. He didn't develop the idea.

Transcribing the sentence, I was aware of how long and unstructured it was. I've seen discussions of Donald Trump that say that he speaks "on a 6th grade level" — as if spoken word is the same as writing — and it made me wonder about Bill Clinton. I put the transcribed sentence into a reading-ease calculator and was shocked to see that it came out at the 28.1 grade level. What?! It's mainly that it's 61 words long. I tried to find a place to break it into 2 or more sentences but couldn't. The conclusion isn't that Bill is brilliant (any more than Donald Trump's short sentences mean that he's dumb). It's that Bill was rambling, perhaps on purpose. He didn't want to overshadow Hillary, and his self-presentation was: happy grandfather.

I put that last paragraph of mine into the reading-ease calculator and was pleased to see that I came out on a 5.6 grade level. My Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease was 80.5 out of 100 (100 being most readable). Bill Clinton's sentence is rated 5.9, which seems awfully unreadable and it wasn't even reading — which you can slow down and redo — it was speaking. I put in some text from Donald Trump's "Face the Nation" interview, and it was at the 4.1 grade level, with a Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score of 83.

***

Bonus: I searched the NYT archive for the phrase "meal ticket" and collected this diverse array.

"When a Bedbug Find Is a Dog’s Main Meal Ticket" (November 11, 2010):
In some cases, dogs are fed only when they signal the presence of bedbugs. A natural question arises: wouldn’t that give the dog an incentive to give a false alert?...
"Academic Protege Or Meal Ticket?" (September 8, 1985):
If the established professoriate is to keep the groves of academe green until their own retirement, they need students — to bring tuition money to their institutions, to populate their courses, especially majors and graduate students to oversee. Otherwise, they will be assigned remedial and introductory courses, or may even be retrained to teach computer science....
"Delightful Hubbel: 'The Meal Ticket'" (May 31, 1981):
In my book, ''The Meal Ticket'' was one of the greatest, along with Walter Johnson and Christy Matthewson. Anderson writes about Carl's ''most memorable performance,'' in striking out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons and Cronin in a row....
"Freedom of Press 'Not a Meal Ticket'; Grove Patterson Urges Campaign to Tell People Liberty Is for Their Good, Not Editors'" (October 19, 1937):
Grove Patterson, president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, urged today "a campaign of education through which the average American citizen can be convinced that this freedom of the press, of which he hears so much, is not a meal ticket for editors but life itself for him and this nation."

"[T]he average citizen thinks many newspapers do not treat him well... [T]he average citizen thinks the freedom of the press is merely a privilege editors seek for their own profitable enjoyment.... I fear Mr. Average Citizen thinks of the right of freedom of the press as a right that journalists are forever worrying about and of which, in his opinion, they already have too much."

63 comments:

Bill Harshaw said...

I suspect the intended meaning was that immigration is an engine to grow the economy. That's conventional wisdom on the left, at least the globalist left, not the protectionist left.

chickelit said...

It ought to be interesting to read how "meal ticket" gets translated into Spanish. It might also confirm or deny your revised theory which I do not buy.

David Begley said...

1. Illegal aliens pay into SS but don't draw on it. Yet.

2. Cheap labor and suppressed wages for his friends at GS and WMT.

3. Voters for the Dem party.

Bill told the truth.

Mark said...

Way back when I took a course in journalism the rule of thumb was to aim for a 6th grade reading level. Writing simply, clearly, and concisely is a learned skill that few people master at any level of education.

EDH said...

The policies that have collapsed the Western World's fertility rates (and thus supposedly require immigration to remedy the resultant problems) are the very same polices politicians have used to punch their meal tickets over the last several decades.

No wonder Bill Clinton is trying to convince voters on behalf of Hillary that somebody else is out there who will punch theirs.

Ponzi had nothing on these guys.

Karen of Texas said...

The filter wasn't on with that choice of words is what happened. Seems poor Bill is a bit rusty. He was thinking it and, oops, it came out of his mouth. Freudian slip?

Does anyone think the media will, in any way, report on that? Latch on to it and drive it home with the help of left-leaning SJW everywhere? Say, like, binders full of women? Anyone?

rehajm said...

When I first read it I assumed Clinton was saying exactly what he was saying: Immigration has a positive economic impact. While heavily debated amongst politicians it's less so amongst economists, even conservative economists:

Immigrants contribute to economic growth. Even if income per capita is unchanged, imagine how much better off our social security system, our medicare system, our unfunded pension promises, and our looming deficits and debt would be, if America could attract a steady flow of young, hard-working people who want to come and pay taxes. Aha, we can attract them! They’re beating the doors down to come. But then we keep them out.

Allowing free migration is, by many estimates the single policy change that would raise world GDP the most. If you believe in free trade in goods, and free investment, then you have to believe that free movement of people has the same benefits.

The most common objection is that immigrants steal American jobs. No, they create American jobs, just as a higher birthrate of Americans would do. Every immigrant is as much a consumer of things we produce, a buyer of houses and cars, a starter of new businesses, as he or she is a worker. Immigrants come to do jobs that are available, not jobs that Americans don’t have. They do work that complements those of Americans, and thus make Americans more productive and better off.

There is very little economic argument for keeping immigrants out of California from old Mexico that would not also apply to keeping immigrants to California out of new Mexico. (Or, as Oregonians, Coloradans, and Texans might wish, keeping Californians out of their states!)

We worry about immigrants using social programs. Fine, but why then is immigration skewed to family members, likely to use social programs, and excludes workers, least likely to use them? If the worry is that they’ll go on welfare, why on earth do we forbid them from earning a living? If social program overuse is a worry, charge a $5,000 bond at the border, require proof of $10,000 of assets and health insurance, and anyone who is convicted of a felony goes home. This fear does not excuse our immigration system.

traditionalguy said...

Wise Bill worked in an old proverb that a family lives off of the family's Oxen that enjoys doing the needed hard work of many men without bragging, stopping or complaining.

The industrial Revolution replaced oxen with the application of Steam Engines burning carbon based energy. That revolution has not reached all of the peasant areas of China, Mexico et al. But Bill reminds us that we can live off those human oxen's cheap labor if we import some.

buwaya puti said...

Unless we are concluding that the statements are merely meaningless bits of drivel in a meaningless flow of words, which is probably the case -
Immigration has been claimed to be economically beneficial under some types of analysis. Personal opinion based on long study and experience in the field of development economics leads me to think that this is yet another unprovable assertion along with a pile of similar assertions.
Heck, it is impossible to prove that even (formal) public education is an economic benefit in itself. There are too many counter examples. In many cases it is clear that it does not drive prosperity but follows it, that is, it is an item of increased consumption, and not something that improves productivity. Immigration may be an economic benefit or it may be a consequence of prosperity. Personally I think it could be, of the right sort, in the right place, under the right circumstances. It's not clear that here and now it is or has been in recent times, and there is no easy way to tell. Anyone making assertions of this sort should be suspected of being a huckster.
To put it another way, the only single possibly independent human or policy factor, other than not being communist, that seems to improve economies is average national intelligence, and this is treated as a bit of a joke in those circles. Maybe that needs some more looking into, though I doubt it will be. I'd say it would be a plausible argument that an immigration policy intended to raise the national IQ would be of benefit. But that's not quite what we have at the moment.

rhhardin said...

You can't save future goods and services. They'll be provided by the work of future workers.

So you need future workers. You can raise the retirement age to get future workers, or you have have enough children, or you can import workers.

The imported workers get the same deal. Future future workers take care of them, so it's not a weird imposition.

Hagar said...

Aging baby boomers looking for young people to pay into Social Security to support them.

chickelit said...

TraditionalGuy wrote: Wise Bill worked in an old proverb that a family lives off of the family's Oxen that enjoys doing the needed hard work of many men without bragging, stopping or complaining.

Bill is more acutely aware of the old Italian proverb: Tira di più un pelo di fica che un carro di buoi = "One pussy hair pulls more than a team of oxen."

buwaya puti said...

Rehajm,
This is an example of an assertion, or series of assertions, unsupported by facts or experiments. There are too many counterexamples, in Europe for instance, where its clear that in a more micro-analysis, the immigrants or large segments thereof are not productive and their presence, under the prevailing circumstances, is not a net benefit.
US data is messed up with collinear factors and studies over the decades of the 1960s-2000 do not extract the chickens from the eggs.
There are also large immigrant sub-populations in the US that on the basis of micro-analyses are similarly largely useless mouths as with the Euro groups above.
And the piece you quote assumes filtering policies that don't exist. This is not the current US policy or situation.
In these economic arguments I have found, everyone is a liar.

chickelit said...

@rehajm: The problem with such conservative economists' rosy scenarios is the utter lack of quantifying social upheaval and its economic costs; problems like language cohesion, customary norms, traditions, holidays, holiday pay, all intangible economic aspects and all conveniently ignored. It reminds me of the global warmists' ignoring of clouds in their dismal projections.

AprilApple said...

Bill Clinton - a former sexual predator in decline. It's time for them to take their bribe infested Foundation and bugger off.

Ann Althouse said...

Bill Harshaw said... "I suspect the intended meaning was that immigration is an engine to grow the economy. That's conventional wisdom on the left, at least the globalist left, not the protectionist left."

David Begley said..."... Cheap labor and suppressed wages for his friends at GS and WMT.... Bill told the truth."

That was my theory, referred to in the post, based on the way it was reported in the NYT. And that may indeed have been somewhere in Bill's mind when he let the weird phrase "meal ticket" slip.

BUT that is not supported by the transcript, which isn't about the economic role of people from different places. It has nothing about hard work or the economy. It's a big mush about diversity.

Again, I agree, and I said so, that Clinton has some ideas about the economic role of immigrants and that made him say "meal ticket," which was, in that case, a very revealing admission of the use people in the elite class see for immigrants. I'm not denying that. BUT the sentence as spoken isn't saying anything like that.

Ann Althouse said...

"The filter wasn't on with that choice of words is what happened. Seems poor Bill is a bit rusty. He was thinking it and, oops, it came out of his mouth. Freudian slip?"

That seems apt to me.

"Does anyone think the media will, in any way, report on that? Latch on to it and drive it home with the help of left-leaning SJW everywhere? Say, like, binders full of women? Anyone?"

Great comparison.

Michael K said...

"This fear does not excuse our immigration system."

Our immigration "system" was designed by Ted Kennedy to flood the country with Democrat voters from third world countries. If we had a sensible system, like Canada or Australia or New Zealand, we would favor workers who would be likely to contribute economically and not be a burden.


I personally know a German couple who waited years to win an immigration lottery and came here. He is a master plumber and she is a nurse-midwife. They wanted to come here, as he explained it, because they could never have their own plumbing business in Germany. They came with 60,000 Euros in savings and soon bought house in Tucson. He has a thriving business.

AllenS said...

I remember an America when we had strict immigration laws on how many people from different countries would be allowed to immigrate here. It all changed with the 1965 Immigration and Reform Act. Things have not gotten better, and as a matter of fact, for a lot of Americans there doesn't seem to be a future.

Curious George said...

You're overthinking it. The "meal ticket" simply means this is how Democrats get in office/stay in office. The immigrants want plenty of free shit, and will vote for the party of free shit.

Barry Dauphin said...

When Clinton was younger, he could simply improvise campaign trail speeches and town halls. He is not capable of doing that well anymore. Not only is he older, but he comes across as very old and tired at this point. The secret weapon has nothing but blanks.

Mike Sylwester said...

I guessed that the expression "meal ticket" had something to do with living in a company town and buying everything in company stores.

I did a Google search on "meal ticket" AND "company store" and found a book titled A Good Trade: Three Generations of Life and Trading Around the Indian Indian Capital, Gallup, New Mexico, written by John D. Kennedy. The Google search highlighted a passage on page 82.

The context is that the author was working in one company town and had been hired back to a previous job, where he had worked in an ice plant in another company town, Gallup. The passage describes his move back to Gallup.

I was making thirty dollars a month and groceries. I had charged a few things at the company store, seven miles away. When I checked out, I received $58.80 in wages.

Brother George and I took a room in Gallup with Ethel and Roscoe Rogers. Roscoe was a manager of the dry goods department at the Merc.

We each bought a five-dollar meal ticket at the Grad Cafe, which had to last us a week. We learned to eat lots of soup and all the crackers we could grab.

My pay at the ice plant was twelve dollars a week, so after the meal ticket I had
seven dollars to pay for rent and additional meals.


My interpretation of this passage is that a person in a company town could not buy food in a company cafeteria with cash. Rather, he could buy meals only with a meal ticket that he obtained when he got his weekly wages. The meal ticket's value was deducted from his weekly wages. In this case, the author's weekly wage was $12, which he chose to receive as a $5 meal ticket and $7 in cash.

The idea of an expression like he's my meal ticket is that you can't eat in the cafeteria without a meal ticket. If you want to eat there -- and even if you do have some cash -- you need to find a company employee who will let you use his meal ticket so that you can enter the cafeteria and eat there.

jr565 said...

"The third thing the election's about is how are we going to keep America safe and still keep it American, preserve our individual liberties and our reputation for being an open country, our belief in diversity, and our understanding that one of our great meal tickets in the next 20 years is going to be there's somebody here from everywhere else."
In addition to getting the phrase meal ticket wrong he is offering a false choice. We HAVE a LEGAL immigration policy already. So most people already assume that immigration is Both a positive and a requirement.
What we have now though is an invasion. Millions of people simply flooding the system. And elected officials refusing to honor rules and laws in pace.
How are we going to keep America safe when we have unfettered immigration. You see the problems in Germany and Sweden, when you have too many people in the system. It doesn't tend to lead to order, but chaos.
It's not going to grow the economy either. Instead it's going to lead to an excess of labor. Which will raise the u employment level. Our growth rate is about 2% which is totally anemic. The left seems to want to penalize business. Since it would be businesses that would need to create the jobs that are supposed to provide for these people, do they really think they will create the requisite number of jobs? When the growth rate is 2%?
In the meantime they will use services and not pay the taxes. So not only will it destroy the economy and drive poor people, out of jobs, it will destroy the safety net.
All because we want to say we care. Everyone cares. If you care will you take In stray cats and let him live in your house? Even if you did, will you take EVERY stray into your house? If you don't does that prove you don't care? There are still stray cats in the world. What do you do? There are considerations like I only have two bedrooms, and there are hu dress of thousands of stray cats in NYC alone. You quickly realize that if you don't provide limitations to your caring your house would quickly be overrun with cats and will look like something out of the show The Hoarders (like the one where the guy had thousands of rats living in the walls that scurried all over the place. He was crazy. His house was a hazard. but at least he cared.

I'm convinced that this push to legalize everybody is just an extension of the cloward Pivens strategy form the sixties. They wanted to have so many people overwhelm the welfare system that it precipitated a crisis, and thus move us to socialism. Fundamental to this notion is that you CAN overwhelm the system. The left is aware of this. And that the left TRIES to do this. The crisis is the goal. And you never let a good crisis go to waste.
This is what Obama really means by transforming the American system.

So, if immigrants are the dems meal ticket, it's really their ability to throw a spanner in the works that is the meal ticket. Not the benefit they would bring to America. Our actual immigration system allows us to import people we NEED. Not every person that ever lived.

hombre said...

Remember, Bill is in his dotage and may have forgotten what "is" "is." His usage of the language may not be what it once was.

This could be it: Immigrants are the "meal ticket" for the Democrat political class to stay at the public trough beyond the time when many American members of their party, however stupid, can no longer be duped.

Roger Sweeny said...

Perhaps he was referring to Social Security. Every economist knows that it is headed for major problems. Right now every dollar that comes in goes out immediately to pay some retiree. And the "trust fund" is not actually any money set aside, just promises by the Treasury to pay--money which it will have to get by raising taxes or spending less somewhere else. As the population ages, there are fewer working people for each retiree and the projections are pretty scary. A lot of "prime working age" immigrants could help fix that problem, at least if the new immigrants are productive.

Economists and public policy people have been talking about this for years. I'm sure Clinton has heard the argument many times.

rehamj 1/6/16, 7:46 AM quoted economist John Cochrane giving a strong version of the argument:

Immigrants contribute to economic growth. Even if income per capita is unchanged, imagine how much better off our social security system, our medicare system, our unfunded pension promises, and our looming deficits and debt would be, if America could attract a steady flow of young, hard-working people who want to come and pay taxes.

Perhaps he realized partway through that he couldn't actually come out and say this and had to switch gears. As you say, he was rambling.

traditionalguy said...

Bill provided many hot meals to Monica Lewinski. She became the first 21 year whose old meal ticket was also POTUS. But that stupid Paula Jones refused to eat what he offered to her.

Sebastian said...

As others have noted, immigrants are a meal ticket for Dem politicians and overwhelming the system with illegals is a meal ticket for Cloward-Piven SJWs.

Unaccompanied minor immigrants are a meal ticket for Dem teachers.

With about 1,000 active FBI terrorism investigations, Muslim immigrants are also a meal ticket for law enforcement.

John said...

Ann said:

I had the theory that perhaps Bill Clinton had let slip the real reason why the elite class in this country favors ample immigration: They want to take advantage of the willingness of newcomers from dismal places to work hard for low wages. We can actually live off their hard work. The plan is cynical exploitation.

Bingo, nailed it in one. They drive wages down for everyone. Drive labor costs down for business.

Perhaps Clinton meant that it was his meal ticket? Big donors like lower labor costs and will support ($$$$$) his foundation, his wife and himself if he works to open immigration.

John Henry

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think what you need to do is find other instances of when Bill Clinton used the term "meal ticket." He was probably alluding to something he mentioned, or will mention, somewhere else.

What he was saying, though, was that some immigrants founded companies, and that they are more likely to found companies, so they provide a "meal ticket," and that innovation comes from immigrants. This is a three-quarter truth.

It is true, the more people (who are free and secure) the more innovation, and immigration is tilted toward people more likely to found businesses, and, by its very nature, involves people not content to let things flow. There's a fairly strong argument also that fresh blood is good. And you can further argue you can't know in advance who will be the innovators.

It's a slight exaggeration to call that a meal ticket for the entire economy. And they are not the only innovators.

It is true that immigration has to help, both because the size of the economy is bigger, so the amount of sales of any given company is bigger, and because you get some innovators and some things happen, or at least happen here, that would not otherwise.

There is also Social Security but he probably wasn't talking about that. He was not talking about low cost labor because that saves money - it doesn't earn money.

While it's silly to be against low cost labor in the United States but find it perfectly all right to buy things that use low cost labor manufactured - or done - abroad, or to find it OK to avoid labor altogether by automation, he wasn't making that argument.

Partly because the argument that imports are bad is used a lot by Democrats, and they are also now for a $15 minimum wage within the confines of the United States.

Sammy Finkelman said...

rehajm said...

When I first read it I assumed Clinton was saying exactly what he was saying: Immigration has a positive economic impact. While heavily debated amongst politicians it's less so amongst economists, even conservative economists:

In fact I don't think you'll find even one economist who will disagree. I would just to like tto know who is the defunct economist who conceived this theory in the first place. It's more unsound, and conceivably has had worst effects on the world, than Marxism.

Ted Cruz is arguing a completely false economic theory. For one thing, why did we have a Great Depression, then? This happened five to eight years after immigration was virtually cut off. And if he did hold that, you have to hold other things as well.

The most some will say, is that, among people with the exact same level of education, more peole may very slightly depress wages - really very slightly - and maybe not at all, if you exclude the immigrants from your calculations, which you obviously should. People can do more than one job.

If there's something wrong with social benefits, well maybe those social benefits ought to be reformed. Medicare is going bankrupt anyway.


Bob Ellison said...

jr565 said: "They wanted to have so many people overwhelm the welfare system that it precipitated a crisis, and thus move us to socialism. Fundamental to this notion is that you CAN overwhelm the system."

Yes. Most people, even leftists, have not read Marx. The notion was fundamental to his conjecture of the march of history toward communism: it's inevitable, because the crises that occur will bring the revolution. That got twisted after Marx, but leftists echo the crisis-breeds-socialism concept in most of their policies and predictions.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"The third thing the election's about is how are we going to keep America safe and still keep it American, preserve our individual liberties and our reputation for being an open country, our belief in diversity, and our understanding that one of our great meal tickets in the next 20 years is going to be there's somebody here from everywhere else."

I think he also might be talking about international trade. In fact, come to think of it, that's probably exactly what he meant. People from everywhere else being here opens doors.

This is actually an argument, not so much for higher numbers of immigrants, but having immigrants from more places, and, specifically, is an argument against keeping out Muslims.

Everything Bill Clinton says is couched selfishly, so he gives "meal ticket" = more exports, and not any kind of moral argument, as the reason to welcome more refugees.

I would think actually a better argument is the international influence of the United States, or better intelligence, so that nothing going on anywhere in the world should surprise you.

I think this is directed against the "no Moslems" advocacy of Donald Trump.


rehajm said...

buwaya puti said...
Rehajm,
This is an example of an assertion, or series of assertions, unsupported by facts or experiments.


Your assertion is an unsupported assertion: There's a substantial amount of data academic data to support the 'assertion' if you're willing to look for it. Cochrane's link will lead to much of it.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Theer are only so many people who can cross a bridge at the same time. Do you control this by administrative fiat, or do you rely mostly on individual decisions people make, and if you want to reduce it, rely on something other than absolute prohibitions, like tolls?

rehajm said...

buwaya puti said...
Rehajm,
This is an example of an assertion, or series of assertions, unsupported by facts or experiments.


Here's some supporting facts and experiments which will also lead you to more.

Laslo Spatula said...

We need more diversity in gardeners and nannies.

That's what I got from it.

I am Laslo.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Bill Clinton wasn't making any kind of argument here about immigration in general.

He was arguing against a no Moslems policy, or any form of national origins, but only as an aside, because his real argument is against adopting the proposals of Donald Trump.

The third thing the election's about is how are we going to keep America safe

A reference to the terrorism issue.

and still keep it American, preserve our individual liberties

A reference to not restricting liberties when fighting terrorism.

and our reputation for being an open country, our belief in diversity, and our understanding that one of our great meal tickets in the next 20 years is going to be there's somebody here from everywhere else.

This part is about immigration and business visitors. And is specifically directed to the way Donald Trump proposes changing immigration policy to combat terrorism.

George Grady said...

The question isn't merely whether immigrants cause the economy to grow. It's whether they help the economy grow enough to offset the additional population. Yes, $1100 is more than $1000, but if you have to divide it among 12 people instead of 10, you're worse off.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"Meal ticket" is also there because Bill Clinton is arguing that it is necessary to increase exports, and that people in the United States will be in trouble if this does not happen. This is actually a somewhat doubtful economic theory. I suppose the argument would be that, as the United States economy as a percentage of the world economy shrinks, more of what we buy is imported, and more needs to be exported. And that we can't get along without exports.

khesanh0802 said...

@chicklit Great quote. It is certainly spot on where Slick Willy is concerned.

Does a picture of Bill and Hillary together remind anyone of their grandparents just before they went into final decline?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Allowing free migration is, by many estimates the single policy change that would raise world GDP the most. If you believe in free trade in goods, and free investment, then you have to believe that free movement of people has the same benefits.

Which is why I no longer support "free" trade. Notice also that he states that free migration would raise the world GDP and equates migration from Mexico to the U.S. to people moving between states. He is a globalist. He is unconcerned with cultural and language issues because he sees nationalism as outmoded and dangerous. And he is provincial enough to think that the premises that created prosperity in the West (rule of law and equality under the law) will remain despite a flood of immigrants whose core beliefs are at odds with those values.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Sorry to be so repetitive, or to rewrite what I say so much, but Bill Clinton was not arguing that immigration was our meal ticket, but that exports were our meal ticket, and that it would extremely useful, in stimulating exports, to have people from all over the world here. He is talking about exports and the balance of trade but just did not elaborate.

This was mentioned in the context of fighting terrorism. He argued, or agreed, that indeed how to keep America safe was a problem, but the specific problem was how not do it without doing things that have a negative impact - by which he meant what Donald Trump is suggesting. He argued that keeping America safe without doing some other things was difficult, but that that was a problem that needed to be tackled.

Now it probably makes sense. I did not see this at first, because I was going, for a while, by what was being said about what he said. It was a comment about the need to be careful in how you fight terrorism, so as not to harm the United States.

DanTheMan said...

I agree with Curious George: Lots of immigration = more votes for Dems = more employment for Dem constituencies.

Bill told the truth... yet another reason he is a detriment to Hill's campaign.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The New York Times wrote:

Describing the ideas and work ethic of immigrants as potential “meal tickets” for the American economy

Bill Clinton DID NOT SAY this.

The "meal ticket" is exports.

jimbino said...

"...why on earth do we forbid them from earning a living..." in proper English would read "...why on earth do we forbid them to earn a living..."

Taking workers on H1-B visas is good for the economy, but bad for our native engineers who suffer loss of jobs. Furthermore, we shouldn't grant H1-B visas to workers from countries unless they reciprocate. Germany, for example, couldn't reciprocate, since the practice of age-discrimination in hiring is rampant there, whereas the USSA has an "age discrimination in employment act" that prohibits it. German employers have the nerve to advertise blatantly for engineers who are young.

Tina848 said...

A lot of people believe immigration is the solution to the social security bulge problem. With so few people born after the baby boom, immigrants help pay taxes and support the current levels of entitlements without making rationalization or cuts.

Paco Wové said...

I just assumed "our" in this case meant the Democratic Party.

David said...

I think he was being more concrete. Immigrants come here and open good restaurants serving their native food. Bill likes the food. Immigrants are our meal ticket.

Steven Wilson said...

My, my, my.. Are we not blessed to have such enlightened elected, wicked be elected, and recently elected representatives in these troubled times.

Despite my concession of Bill Clinton's undoubted intelligence and political acumen, I have nothing but contempt for the uses to which he put his opportunities. That being said, I wonder if his loss of charisma and spontaneity may be related to the phenomenon known as pump head originating from his open heart surgery of a decade past. Beyond that, the relating of a single anecdote about a muslim stopping a robbery as proof of the value of diversity is a bit of a stretch. I've been hearing about diversity for probably a quarter of a century now without seeing all the benefits it's advocates promise. I keep asking myself, if diversity is a such a good thing why didn't the Austro-Hungarian Empire not only rule Central Europe but the world, and for that matter why aren't they still. They had soldiers speaking eleven different languages, and look how they prospered. Somehow, and I'm sure not many on the left are familiar with this tale, the Tower of Babel is a more relevant and cautionary fable than the chanting of "Diversity is good, etc."

And then we have Jeb Bush whose desire to be president has finally stripped away his last virtues. I thought he might be misguided and inept but at least he's a decent human being. Then he throws his addict daughter under the bus. Even with her permission, it's a despicable and desperate act that serves no useful purpose. It's time for Leo Amery to be resurrected to do the Cromwell quote again about Chamberlain's war time government "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go." Leave us Jeb, it's for your own good too.

And then we have the female mayor of a major German city telling the women to stay an arm's length away from men. Now, I'll admit that we often overthink things and that sometimes simple solutions are available and the best, but I'm not certain that an arm's length away is a solution to crime. I don't want to ridicule, but I am just saying'. If it works, I think we should put Rahm Emmanuel onto this solution.

And finally the fruits of the Albright-Clinton (and didn't Jimmy Carter, the first anti-American ex-president have a mission to North Korea) dealings with the Norks. Like many, I doubt they have managed an actual H-Bomb. But since we have an administration that seems to believe it can conjure from thin area by simply saying it is so, I'm certain our incumbent, the anti-American sitting President, can manage a bribe to whichever psychotic member of the ruling family is currently installed.

elkh1 said...

Blue collars whites were screwed bad by Dear Leader, they are either defecting from the Disgusting Party or will stay home.

Blacks wise up, a little. They'll stay home than to vote Hillary.

Bill and Dems' meal ticket: illegal Hispanics who are likely to vote Democrat in a long time.

Like the Jews keep voting Democrats since FDR halted his antisemitism in the last century. Voting habits die hard, especially when the opposition, the Repulsive Party offers no alternatives.

jr565 said...

Sammy Finkelman wrote:
The most some will say, is that, among people with the exact same level of education, more peole may very slightly depress wages - really very slightly - and maybe not at all, if you exclude the immigrants from your calculations, which you obviously should. People can do more than one job.

And the left always talks about income inequality. NOw you want to talk about them doing more jobs. Um, what jobs?
The growth rate is anemic. Where are these jobs materializing from? cheap labor will drive down the cost of that labor (thus leading to people earning even less). But that's for people who get the jobs.
Excess of labor means those who don't have jobs have NO salary at all. Think of a construction site where all the migrant workers line up looking for jobs. They only need to fill a certain number of positions. Everyone else goes back on line and hopes some other construction site is looking for work that day.
That's what the situation will be like. No jobs for the mass majority of people thrust into the system.

I can't believe dems are the ones arguing for it. Considering they are also the ones talking about living wages, and economic inequality and safety nets.
Yes, that's all bull crap to get votes, but still, adherence to your own logic has to count for something.

PB said...

It's just the continuing effort to find some catch phrase that cons more people into doing what the democrats want. otherwise known as throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks.

Achilles said...

Bill meant what all progressives mean. They are serfs who will take government benefits and vote for democrats. That is a progressive meal ticket. They will help progressives tear down the middle class and turn this country into Mexico.

A lawless corruptocrat run country just like Chicago.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Obviously it's the Clinton and Democrat political meal ticket.

aritai said...

Do what other countries do. Require immigrants buy their way in. Figure out what average lifetime social benefits accrue to being a U.S. citizen and set the bar there. Given current government welfare, including SSI, that's easily more than $500K. The Swiss do something similar. Anyone know that number? Else have them sponsored by someone willing to invest that amount - because the immigrant is a true genius or business wizard or likely to succeed at whatever they do. e.g. many of the great west coast companies founded by first generation immigrants. Like Intel. It's not hard. Just substitute intellect and judgement for process. Granted the result might be a little too diverse for the U.S. populace. Why should we invite in people that not only create large numbers of well-paying jobs, but make income inequality worse and our children feel inadequate. Good thing our best colleges are now discriminate against the Asians, they should go home and be the enablers of our children's defeat both economically and militarily. Way to go suckers.

n.n said...

Shouting Thomas:

That's an insightful observation. The religious or moral philosophies (i.e. behavioral protocols) in societies were promoted principally by the matriarchy, not the patriarchy, in order to create a hospitable environment for women and children. If God needed to be invented, then a father figure for developing boys would create a role model for them to aspire to. And Mother Nature was chosen as a model of reality for girls. Natural imperatives reconciled and tempered by a religious or moral philosophy that promoted self-moderation and personal responsibility in order to enjoy liberty in a civilized, stable society.

n.n said...

We need to stop immigration until we can determine why a minority of Americans contract with, and a larger class support and defend, Planned Parenthood corporation and other businesses committing elective abortion and clinical cannibalism of over one million babies annually. The effort to compensate for the loss of life under the selective-child policy through excessive, illegal, and refugee immigration serves to obfuscate a progressive debasement of human life during abortion rites under the state-established quasi-religious pro-choice doctrine. The consequences of anti-native policies can no longer be denied.

buwaya said...

rehajm,

In the first paragraph of one of the linked articles, one sees the rather critical concession -

"Although serious questions can be raised about the reliability of most studies"

Precisely that. ALL of these studies do not adequately extract collinear factors, because they are unable to do so. There just isn't enough information. Also, every study I have seen uses data from the last long term economic expansion (1960's-2000 usually) where growth happened, for reasons that are not understood to a sufficient degree to be able to single out any factor. That technology caused this, or regulation/deregulation caused that, or tariffs caused something else, is purest BS.

As for the limits of methodology - Consider, if you like, Ottaviano&Peri 2012 as cited in your link. Its based on models loaded with "estimated elasticities of substitutability" and suchlike assumptions. This sort of thing has to be done because there isn't the data. And in any such model there is no way to extract all possible contributing factors because we lack the ability to know what these all are, in order to build them into the model. We just do not have the knowledge to construct a meaningful model, and whatever marginal results (and they are marginal) from such a model have, one must assume, error bars that make them meaningless.

We now, today, have an extended slump where some interesting non-collinear data can be extracted, maybe. Among other things the US and much of the developed world is suffering from a considerable and intractable reduction in employment and coincidentally, a reduction in labor force participation, as well as declining incomes.

virgil xenophon said...

What those who eagerly advocate increased immigration flows of "healthy and productive" bodies in order to sustain present-day Social Security, Medicare, etc., seem to forget is that today's cohort of workers will eventually become tomorrows retirees, requiring an EVEN BIGGER cohort of active workers to support THEM. Inquiring minds who do the numbers will soon realize that this is a formula to eventually import the population of the ENTIRE WORLD to make the required geometric expansion play out (i.e. 2x workers to support 1x retirees, then 4x workers to support 2x retirees, etc.)

Dream on..

Sammy Finkelman said...

>> And the left always talks about income inequality. NOw you want to talk about them doing more jobs. Um, what jobs?

I meant people are not limited to one job - so if there is competition in one case, they can get a different job where there is not so much competition.

BN said...

"...Inquiring minds who do the numbers..."

Inquiring minds = gods of the copybook headings? Equals sell yer [country's] soul for a "dream" [bogus financed] retirement?

There's a lot of talk here. Anybody who can see can see what's gonna happen. Trump sees it. So do the trumpets.

Dinah blow yer horn.

BN said...

"Decadence is a society that is getting used to the idea of dying."

(Somebody might have said that.. I think... but I can't remember who.)

BN said...

"I got your meal ticket right here."

- Laslo (aka Bill Clinton)